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Track Changes

Technology and culture, hosted by the people of Postlight.
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Track Changes
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Feb 28, 2017

The technologists defending the Constitution: this week Paul and Rich talk to two people with very different roles at the American Civil Liberties Union. Marco Carbone, Associate Director for Internet Technology, manages the ACLU’s website, while Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Senior Staff Technologist for the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, does policy-oriented work, especially on digital privacy rights. Topics covered include the recent influx of donations to the organization, poor security standards on our social media platforms, warrants, and more.

Feb 21, 2017

Demystifying public speaking: this week Paul and Rich talk to Lara Hogan, an engineering director at Etsy whose most recent book, Demystifying Public Speaking, aims to help get more diverse voices onstage in the tech world. Topics covered include overcoming specific fears before getting onstage, how to process feedback, and some of her own experiences onstage, from highlights on down to one particular public-speaking horror show. They also discuss her career at Etsy and the joys and challenges of management.

Feb 14, 2017

From the front lines of the changing world of media: this week Paul and Rich talk to a client, VICE News, specifically editor Ryan McCarthy and general manager Dan Fletcher. They talk about VICE News and VICE more broadly, outline Dan and Ryan’s careers, and talk about the current media landscape and VICE’s position within it. They also discuss VICE News’s experiences with Postlight, who redesigned the site in 2016.

Feb 7, 2017

Should Twitter delete the president’s personal account? Paul and Rich tackled this hotly-debated question in the first-ever live episode of Track Changes, recorded at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan as part of IxDA’s Interaction 17 conference. They take turns playing the fictional CEO of Twitter as he visits various departments, from tech to legal to PR to investor relations to design, to talk about whether they could delete the account—and what the ramifications would be if they “hit the big red button.” They also take in a variety of perspectives on the question with comments from the audience.

Jan 31, 2017

Why you need prototypes and Powerpoints: this week Paul and Rich talk to Prashant Agarwal, the VP of Design at McKinsey Digital Labs. They talk about his career trajectory, from studying business to co-founding a startup to product management to design, and his current role at McKinsey, where he rethinks design challenges at scale. Paul and Rich also discuss content marketing, including this podcast and their fear of small talk at cocktail parties.

Jan 24, 2017

The promise—and creepiness—of the web. This week Paul and Rich talk to Nicholas Carr, the author of books including The Shallows, The Glass Cage, and, most recently, Utopia Is Creepy. Topics covered include our addictions to devices, the internet’s influence on political discourse, shifting perceptions of digital technologies over time, and Rich’s desire to see less baked ziti on his Facebook feed.

Jan 17, 2017

How do our media landscapes shape our lives? This week Paul and Rich have a wide-ranging conversation about media, from the changing landscape of journalism to the way we consume entertainment to the way we share information. Topics covered include fake news, Netflix, Jeff Bezos, Facebook, television, Fox News, David Letterman, and Peppa Pig (which gives Paul a chance to test-drive a British accent).

Jan 10, 2017

Physically preserving the contents of the web: in the second and final installment of their conversation with Craig Mod, Paul and Rich talk to the writer, designer, and technologist about his new book and about the writing platform hi.co, the entire contents of which will be printed on a tiny nickel plate and archived in the Library of Congress. They also answer a listener question about Paul’s anxiety—or, in his words, “brain space shenanigans”—and whether the frequent subject of Paul’s writing has any bearing on Postlight’s business.

Jan 3, 2017

Traveling the world with Craig Mod: in the first of a two-part conversation, Paul and Rich talk to the writer, designer, and technologist about his upbringing, his early relationships with computers, and strategy tips for walking through forests. They also take a question from a listener worried over what to do when your values don’t align with the values of your client—or your employer.

Dec 27, 2016

What should we make of 2016? This week Paul and Rich recap the year, with a focus on the big tech trends of the past 12 months. Topics covered include virtual and, augmented reality, Pokémon GO, Facebook’s fake news problem, Apple’s terrible wireless headphones, self-driving cars, cybersecurity, conversational interfaces, Rich’s eternal optimism, Paul’s fears for the future, and the things they’re both grateful for.

Dec 20, 2016

Creating change for New York City kids: this week Paul and Rich split the episode in two, with two conversations about children and learning. First they talk about their own kids’ relationships with technology and feelings about teaching them to code. Then they sit down with Colin Smith, executive director of the nonprofit Change for Kids, which works with motivated principals to help give students at New York’s poorest public schools access to pathways for success.

Dec 13, 2016

Learning from successes and failures: this week Paul and Rich talk to Michael Sippey, whose career spans the history of the web, from blogging pioneer to Six Apart to director of product at Twitter to startup founder. He details his work at Twitter during a time of transition for the social network, and then shares frank perspectives about launching and recently shutting down his startup, Talkshow.

Dec 6, 2016

Answering listener mail: this week Paul and Rich answer a few letters: first, an architect asks Rich to expand upon his analogy between small teams of software developers and architecture firms; then, a Facebook-weary listener asks why there isn’t an easy way to pull your content from the platform. They round out the show with a discussion on Postlight’s mission statement—or lack thereof. Also discussed: Shutterstock’s image search, consulting firms’ hiring models, and Rich’s opinion of the sushi in San Diego.

Nov 29, 2016

A new division of Postlight: this week Paul and Rich debut Postlight Labs, a recently-launched space for innovation and experimentation within the company. They discuss Labs’ inception and some of the thinking behind its mission, and then detail three products Poslight has launched already: the Mercury AMP tool, Lux, a JavaScript framework, and SOTU, a tool that helps managers check the status of a project on Slack.

Nov 22, 2016

Taking stock after one year: this week Paul and Rich assess the company they founded last year and what they’ve learned in the intervening months. They detail Postlight’s origin story, talk about philosophies around hiring and building a diverse workplace, meditate on success and achievement at the management level, and critique things they could have done better—and what they’ll keep working to improve in the future.

Nov 15, 2016

Our dangerous reliance on big data: in an episode recorded before the election, Rich and Paul talk to Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. They discuss Cathy’s origins in the math world, her years at a hedge fund on the brink of the 2008 financial crisis, the lack of transparency in the Department of Education’s data, and the various examples of “weapons of math destruction” in her book—all the ways that data is used to harm.

Nov 8, 2016

Are we addicted to our phones? This week Paul and Rich very deliberately avoid talking about the fate of our democracy and tackle perennial questions about our devices and our (possibly unhealthy) relationships with them, starting with Andrew Sullivan’s recent piece in New York Magazine, “I Used to Be a Human Being.” Topics covered include the essays of Montaigne, “play baseball dads” vs. “phone dads,” whether mobile software and design should take some blame, and the phrase “epistemological shenanigans.”

Nov 1, 2016

The next step for Jeffrey Zeldman: this week Paul and Rich talk to the web design pioneer who, in Paul’s words, “designed the aesthetic of the web for a while.” They discuss his history as founder of the design studio Happy Cog and A List Apart Magazine, co-founder of A Book Apart and An Event Apart, and author of, amongst other titles, Taking Your Talent to the Web. They then discuss his newest venture, Studio.Zeldman, dig deep into the difference between an agency and a studio, and touch, controversially, on the pronunciation of “GIF.”

Oct 25, 2016

How does the web shape our taste—and our choices? This week Paul and Rich talk to Tom Vanderbilt, author of You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice. They examine how online ratings affect our perceptions, the power of negative reviews, and Tom and Rich’s shared appreciation (/love) for Rush. They also discuss Tom’s previous book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), and how his research led him deep into the world of cycling.

Oct 18, 2016

What can we learn from the history of an address? Fresh off Postlight’s recent move to offices at 101 Fifth Avenue, Paul and Rich use The New York Times’s archives to delve into the history of that particular parcel of land. Some of the results are dramatic (diamond thieves!), and some...well, not so much (dinner parties; book publishing). But what emerges is a narrative about a building that’s changed with the ebbs and flows of industry in New York City—and a narrative about New York City itself.

Oct 11, 2016

How does design shape the world? This week, Paul Ford and Rich Ziade finish their conversation with Michael Bierut, a partner at Pentagram, and Jessica Helfand, senior critic at the Yale School of Art. Topics discussed include the public’s perceptions of designers’ work, collective interest in logos and branding, the danger of creating in pursuit of positive feedback, publishing personal writing on the internet, and their recent appointments as the first design faculty in the Yale School of Management.

Oct 4, 2016

How designers see the world: this week, Paul Ford and Rich Ziade talk to Michael Bierut, a partner at the design firm Pentagram, and Jessica Helfand, a senior critic at the Yale School of Art. In the first installment of a two-part conversation, they discuss the institutions where they’ve built their careers, the balance between expertise and curiosity, how they teach the fundamentals of design, and the value of rituals when you’re trying to get the work done.

Sep 27, 2016

New media on old platforms: this week Paul and Rich talk to Liza Darwin and Casey Lewis, former teen magazine editors who launched “Clover,” a daily topical newsletter and app for girls ages 13-22, early this year. They discuss their former employers’ struggles adapt to the internet age, the email behavior of today’s teenagers, nostalgia for Google Reader, inadvertently building a community, and sexism in the venture capital world.

Sep 20, 2016

Terrorism and technology: this week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade talk about a host of topics in the wake of the past weekend’s bombing in Manhattan. They cover the state of the city and the collective reaction of its residents, the ease of international communication in the digital age, and the emergency alert that went out early Monday morning that named the suspected perpetrator and said simply, “See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen.”

Sep 13, 2016

Our all-video future: this week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade talk to David Mendels, the CEO of the video-hosting platform Brightcove. They discuss video’s rise and current dominance on the web, esports, “snackable video,” Rich’s relationship with his cable bill, and Pokémon GO (“There’s, like, a Bulbasaur by our bathroom,” Paul says of Postlight’s offices. “That’s our recruiting strategy.”)

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